RIO DE JANEIRO: Luiz Felipe Scolari, buoyed by a statement of confidence from the president-elect of the Brazilian confederation, wants his Brazil players to restore some shreds of national pride by ending the World Cup on a winning note writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Brazil, still shell-shocked from the 7-1 Mineirao massacre in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, face Holland in the third place play-off tomorrow in Brasilia.
Marco Polo del Nero, the FIFA executive member who will take over as CBF president from Jose Marin, has said he believes Scolari should stay in his job.
Scolari, for all his immediate protestations, is likely to depart in any case as the World Cup dust settles.
In the meantime the 65-year-old, boasting only three defeats in 28 matches in charge, remained publicly defiant.
He said: “I know my career will be marked by this defeat, but we have an obligation to move on and think about the next goal, which in this case is the match for third place. I know it’s a much smaller dream that we all wanted, but we have to honour the shirt of the national team.”
Scolari added: “We made the semi-finals, the top four teams in the world, and there were a lot of good teams that were knocked out before us.”
He denied reports that his assistants had urged him to play an extra midfielder against Germany to counter German power in the heart of the action.
Captain Thiago Silva, who will return to central defence missing for semi-final because of a needless suspension, has appealed to fans to get behind their team once more.
The Paris Saint-Germain defender said: “This is a bad time so we need strength from our fans. I
guarantee that we will play this Saturday’s game like it was the final.”